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Old October 29th, 2011, 02:24 AM
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Default Booked first NCL cruise how do they differ from Carnival?

We couldn't stand it anymore so we booked another cruise. We have sailed Carnival 4 times and Princess twice so, what should we expect from Norwegian, how does it differ from other cruise lines? We are sailing on the Pearl November 27th and I appreciate any tips that I can get.

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Old October 29th, 2011, 03:05 AM
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I have been only on Carnival, so I cannot help you unfortunately. However, could you please tell me how you thought Carnival was vs Princess? We are booked on Princess in September. Thanks!!
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Old October 29th, 2011, 06:17 AM
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Pearl is a great ship. It is one of the newer and is set up for Freestyle.
Generally I find the entertainment to be better on NCL. Food has always been good (except on the Sky) and they have a much better selection on the buffet at night. There are more extra cost food choices and we always budget to try these once or twice during the cruise. Cabins tend to be smaller but mine have always been adequate. For some reason debark has always seemed much smoother on NCL than on Carnival.
These are just my opinions. Yours may be different.
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Old October 29th, 2011, 03:53 PM
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I agree with Scurvy. The entertainment is a lot better in my book. We found the dining on the aft MDR quite good. Cabins are a tad smaller, but quite adequate. My only complaint was that all those extra dining areas made the ship's public areas harder to get around. But, I have mobility problems, so others didn't seem to mind it.
You should have plenty of fun on either cruise line.
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Old October 29th, 2011, 04:23 PM
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We will be on the Epic again in March, for our 2nd CM group cruise,and before that, I was on the Gem, the only two I have been on with freestyle dining.

You will find a much more relaxed atmosphere. In the evening you will find people dressed in tee shirts/shorts, to formal dressing walking about the ship.

On the Epic, the optional dining venues are outstanding! We tried Shanghai, Moderno,and the Noodle Bar..all were delicious and worth the extra cost. O" Sheehans Pub, is a no charge scrumptious place to eat. The best chicken tenders ever created If this option is on the Pearl, lucky you. On the Gem, we had the Tepinayaki, and, Tex Mex options. Not sure what the Pearl options are, but, research them it will be worth it.


The entertainment is very good,and you can book reservations ahead of time,and, that option might be fleet wide by now. We also had the option of stowing our carry ons, once we boarded, to pick up later on..a good thing, to make investigating the ship,much easier.

I will bet you will enjoy a cruise being a bit less structured, as we did.
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Old October 30th, 2011, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KDGodwin View Post
I have been only on Carnival, so I cannot help you unfortunately. However, could you please tell me how you thought Carnival was vs Princess? We are booked on Princess in September. Thanks!!
Carnival is more relaxed and generally from what I have seen a little younger median age of passengers. Princess and Carnival both have great service and food. Carnival is a lot more colorful in their decor while Princess ships have alot more refined decor.

If you are just doing a 7 day Caribbean cruise I personally wouldn't spend the extra dollars on Princess, who ever, if you are looking for more then 7 days of cruising, and different ports of call that you havent been to before then Princess would be a better bet.
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Old October 30th, 2011, 08:55 AM
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Oh good! Thank you for the tip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Truck Cruiser View Post
Carnival is more relaxed and generally from what I have seen a little younger median age of passengers. Princess and Carnival both have great service and food. Carnival is a lot more colorful in their decor while Princess ships have alot more refined decor.

If you are just doing a 7 day Caribbean cruise I personally wouldn't spend the extra dollars on Princess, who ever, if you are looking for more then 7 days of cruising, and different ports of call that you havent been to before then Princess would be a better bet.
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Old October 30th, 2011, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ScurvyDog View Post
Pearl is a great ship. It is one of the newer and is set up for Freestyle.
Generally I find the entertainment to be better on NCL. Food has always been good (except on the Sky) and they have a much better selection on the buffet at night. There are more extra cost food choices and we always budget to try these once or twice during the cruise. Cabins tend to be smaller but mine have always been adequate. For some reason debark has always seemed much smoother on NCL than on Carnival.
These are just my opinions. Yours may be different.
So generally speaking.....NCL has their version of Sail and sign cards im sure? Is debarkation any different with NCL? How about shore excursion ship departures? I have always thought Carnival to be pretty sloppy in their port of call debarkation process, esp compaired to Princess.

So it is a good idea to make reservations in the morning for evening dining at the venue of your choice?

Is there any formal nights on NCL? How about a Captains party?

thanks for all your answers.....i believe being informed before you sail a new line makes a experience better as one doesnt get blind sided by suprises
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Old October 30th, 2011, 12:09 PM
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One key difference... on NCL disembarkation, one is allowed to stay and relax in your cabin until it's your time to leave.

Much more civilised than hanging around in ship's public areas.
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Old October 31st, 2011, 03:24 AM
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thanks Kuki.....I agree and have always wondered why some cruiselines act like they can't wait to get you off their ship. A more relaxed debarkation process sounds good to me!
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Old October 31st, 2011, 11:57 AM
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For the most part you will find NCL closer to Carnival than Princess, but let's face it, most lines are similare today. Princess is much more formal, older crowd and more subdued than either NCL or Carnival. Carnival will have the youngest cruisers and more night life. NCL falls inbetween. For us, NCL is the perfect balance. There is enough going on at night to keep us busy but it isn't an all night party time. Remember everyones idea of a good cruise might be different and most everything is subjective:

Quick breakdown as I see it:

Carnival; Largest cabins. good night life, active casino; pretty good food

Princess: good service, delightfully appointed public areas, great meats (selection and quality) in the Main Dining rooms

NCL: good entertainment, great dining choices: great breakfast and lunch buffets: helpful and friendly crew.

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Old October 31st, 2011, 12:08 PM
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I think of NCL as the more "do your own thing" cruise line. Some people only eat in the MDR while others eat at the nicer restaurants every night.

I also like the entertainment on NCL, but its hard to say its better than Carnival - I think it is similar.

As far as reservations for restaurants and tours go - I do as many reservations as I possibly could as early as possible if there is something you definitely want to do. These days tours fill up faster because more people book them online.
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Old October 31st, 2011, 11:15 PM
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Thank you for all your help......like i said...a informed cruiser is a happy cruiser!
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Old November 3rd, 2011, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
I think of NCL as the more "do your own thing" cruise line. Some people only eat in the MDR while others eat at the nicer restaurants every night.

I also like the entertainment on NCL, but its hard to say its better than Carnival - I think it is similar.

As far as reservations for restaurants and tours go - I do as many reservations as I possibly could as early as possible if there is something you definitely want to do. These days tours fill up faster because more people book them online.
"Do your own thing" a perfect description of NCL in my book. I will remember and use it often even if I am stealing the phrase from you.

Nita
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Old December 7th, 2011, 04:21 AM
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We are back from our Cruise on the NCL Pearl and I can tell you that i am now a big fan of freestyle cruising. I have never been on a cruise with the service so good and the food was exceptional! I'll write a review and post it later but let me point out a few differences between NCL and Carnival.

1. Freestyle, eat when u want with whoever u want. While Carnival is getting into the eat when u want concept, they lag way behind in implementation because of being restricted with 2 main dining rooms, and 1 is usually for traditional dining. NCL has 13 dining venues with only 3 of them being 20 dollar or more venues. With the 2 main dining rooms being all freestyle we never had to wait on a table to be seated even though we were a party of 5.

2. Service is better on NCL. The last couple of cruises on Carnival it had seemed to me that the crew was wore out and not really happy. We didnt see that with NCL. The crew of the Pearl seemed genuinely happy and full of energy.

3. Entertainment on NCL was varied and very good. Carnival entertainment is good also, but after 4 cruises on Carnival it just seemed like it was the same on every ship. Now i don't know if that will hold true on NCL but from what i have read and heard, each ship's entertainment is different on NCL.

These are just some highlights. The food on the Pearl was the best I have had at sea and let me tell you, the food in the main dining rooms was so good that one wouldn't really need to eat at a pay for dining room on the ship, though we did eat at 2 of the pay for restaurants and both were wonderful.

I am looking forward to cruising NCL again and seeing if this was just a exceptional crew on a exceptional ship or if that same service and food quality exists fleet wide!
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Old December 15th, 2011, 03:21 PM
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Just returned from NCL Star. For debarkation, instead of putting the color coded luggage tags in your cabin, we had to go by the purser's desk to pick them up. The reason is that you pick your color based on what time you want to get off the ship. The only bad news is that there was no color for "Never".
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Old December 16th, 2011, 08:59 AM
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I was shocked to see how many did their own self assist debarkation. To me it is nice to just relax, wait till I wanna leave the ship and then pick up my bags, which we had the easiest time finding compared to all the other cruises we have been on, and go to the Customs station.

I will say this.....Customs took a really long time. There were more foreigners on this ship then I have ever seen on a cruise ship. What was interesting was that a group of around 90 people debarked at Jamaica and another group of 90 people embarked there, that seemed really neat to me.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 11:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truck Cruiser View Post
We couldn't stand it anymore so we booked another cruise. We have sailed Carnival 4 times and Princess twice so, what should we expect from Norwegian, how does it differ from other cruise lines? We are sailing on the Pearl November 27th and I appreciate any tips that I can get.

Thank You
Tim
Just completed a 10 day cruise on NCL Dawn. We are Platinum on Carnival, Diamond of RCL, and Elite on Princess.

I'd cruise NCL again [4 cruises on NCL since our first NCL cruise in 96] without hesitation. Our cruise was excellent.

But I do not compare lines or cruises. My philosophy is:

My last cruise is only a memory,
My next cruise is only a plan,
I'd BETTER enjoy the cruise I'm ON!

That's carried us through 54 cruises so far.

Don't compare, look to enjoy what NCL does.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 07:08 AM
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Good word there....tnx!!
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Old December 25th, 2011, 03:09 AM
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O.K. I did a review of our Cruise on the Pearl and it can be found here....

Norwegian Cruise Line - Norwegian Pearl
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Old January 16th, 2012, 01:54 PM
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I think you'll find NCL between Carnival and Princess. I've done 3 Carnivals, 6 Princess cruises, and ... I think 5 or 6 NCL cruises. The NCL cabins tend to be smaller, but the passenger density is lower on NCL than Carnival (but not as low as Princess, so the public spaces tend to feel less crowded.

The entertainment? Eh...I have to say the best evening's entertainment we've enjoyed in 25 or so cruises was on the old Norwegian Sea. The cast performed "Grease," and then much of the passenger complement participated in a really fun "50's Night, Sock Hop, etc." party.
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Old January 17th, 2012, 12:51 AM
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my experience on Princess was more crowded because of all the wheelchairs and walkers on the ship. Seriously that 10 day Panama Canal we did my wife 52 and I 46 were in the youngest 10% of the cruisers on that voyage. Our other princess cruise we made the mistake of booking during spring break and was in the oldest 25% of passengers lol.
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